Welcome to The Daily 202! Tell your friends to sign up here. On this day in 1784, the Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris (sometimes called the Second Treaty of Paris) in which Britain officially recognized American independence. In 2016, the world lost actor Alan Rickman. I may watch “Galaxy Quest” tonight — “By Grabthar’s Hammerwhat a savings.” I laugh just typing it.

The big idea

“President Trump told us to reach out to you.” “Where have you been? President Trump reached out with your ONE-TIME Trump Cash Blitz Day offer but so far we HAVEN’T HEARD FROM YOU.” “Until midnight tonight.” “Last chance.”

Yes, The Daily 202 still subscribes to email lists run by the former president Donald Trump’s office and the “Save America PAC” affiliated with him. The PAC announced last month he’d be holding his first rally of 2022 Saturday night, in Arizona.

Over the past week, those two entities combined this week for a bewildering bonanza of fundraising requests — I think they’re up to 70 or so appearances in my inbox since Jan. 7 — featuring urgent messages like the ones excerpted above.

The former president — whose approval rating has risen in the year since he was banned from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook — never left the political ring after his losing reelection campaign. He’s still the most potent force in the Republican Party and might successfully seek his old job in a couple of years. Certainly, his massive fundraising machine keeps that option open, and gives him considerable clout ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

He has enlisted large swaths of the GOP into supporting his “Big Lie” that he actually won the 2020 election, and the resulting Republican drive to change voting rules and give partisans control over election certification is perhaps the most important dynamic in politics today.

To be sure, polls suggest a majority of Americans don’t want him to run in 2024, and 60 percent say he bears “a great deal” or a “good amount” of responsibility for the Jan. 6 insurrection, which interrupted the certification of President Biden’s 2020 victory. 

But those majorities don’t vote in Republican primaries. Nor are those contests decided by the three retired senior military officials who wrote last month: “We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time.”

And for every Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) willing to defy Trump and publicly reject his false claims widespread voter fraud swung the White House to Biden, there’s a Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) who publicly says he won’t vote to reelect Mitch McConnell (Ky.) as Senate GOP leader unless the Kentucky senator has a “working relationship” with Trump.

“We’ve emailed you a few times to get your name on the Official Trump Announcement Priority List, but so far, our records indicate that you’ve FAILED to take action. Is that true?”

It is true. But let’s get back to Saturday’s rally, at Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence, Ariz.


First, a programming note: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but when it comes to political rallies, “broadcasting” and “covering” are not automatically synonyms.

In his peerless newsletter, “The Trailer,” my colleague Dave Weigel flags some of the rally venue’s political salience:

“The setting has added meaning to Trump supporters: Pinal County went for the 2020 Republican nominee by 17 points, but local Republicans called for an audit of the vote, suggesting it was the next place to scour the election results after Maricopa County's party-backed ballot review. 

“Nearly every guest announced for the Saturday rally has claimed the 2020 election was stolen. They include gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, secretary of state candidate and state Rep. Mark Finchem, state party chair Kelli Ward, conservative commentator Boris Epshteyn and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. All three House Republicans listed as rally guests voted to reject Arizona's electors in 2020: Rep. Paul A. Gosar, Rep. Andy Biggs and Rep. Debbie Lesko.”

Money matters

Trump, who launched his 2020 reelection bid hours after being sworn in, has never stopped fundraising. He’s been teasing a 2024 run without ever committing to one, but even in 2022 his money would talk if he spread it to Republican candidates.

My colleagues Isaac Stanley-Becker and Anu Narayanswamy reported back in August Trump had amassed “a political treasure chest of $102 million by the end of June [2021], according to filings made public on Saturday.” (Disclosures for the rest of the year will come this month.)

“His aides said he had raised $82 million in that period, though a significant part of that money came in the form of transfers from accounts soliciting funds last year.”

“The sums, which are extraordinary for an ex-president who has been booted off social media, testify to the power of Trump’s online donor base and the deep financial reservoir available to him if he chooses to seek the White House a third time.”

In late 2020, my colleagues Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Anu Narayanswamy reported Trump raised $207.5 million between Election Day and early December, “an extraordinary haul resulting from Trump’s post-election fundraising effort using a blizzard of misleading appeals about the integrity of the vote.”

In the week before tomorrow’s rally, Trump’s fundraising machine has been blasting out the emails — 70, by my rough count, including seven on Thursday advertising something called the “Trump Cash Blitz.” I may have missed a few.

“Your name could be broadcast live during my father’s rally.” “Where have you been?” “President Trump needs you to see this.” “[‘confidential correspondence]” “C.O.N.F.I.D.E.N.T.I.A.L.”

The rally may test Trump’s ability to pack the MAGA crowd in the seats — but it’s probably not the most serious test of his influence.

That would be whether he can convince vaccine-averse followers to change their mind and get their shot(s) — including the booster, which he recently revealed he got.

“Alert from President Trump.”

What's happening now

Russia planning potential sabotage operations in Ukraine, U.S. says

“The Russian government has sent operatives into eastern Ukraine in preparation for potential sabotage operations that would serve as a pretext for invasion, the Biden administration said on Friday,” Missy Ryan and Paul Sonne report.

Biden administration threatens to rescind stimulus funds from Arizona over anti-mask school policy

“The Biden administration on Friday threatened to claw back more than $170 million in federal stimulus aid allotted to Arizona, after the state announced it would use the cash in a way that discouraged schools from requiring students to wear masks,” Tony Romm reports.

Lawmakers begin discussing government spending deal as Democrats eye virus aid, paid leave

“Congressional lawmakers are beginning to discuss a long-term spending package that could fund the government, prevent a shutdown and potentially even deliver another round of coronavirus relief, including an emerging Democrat-backed plan to provide paid leave to millions of Americans,” Tony Romm reports.

Ukraine’s official websites hit by massive cyberattack amid high tensions with Russia

“Unknown hackers launched an attack on Ukrainian government websites early Friday, blocking access and warning Internet users to ‘expect the worst.’ The attack comes as tensions soar between Russia and NATO, the Western military alliance, because Russian troops are massing on the Ukrainian border, prompting fears of an invasion,” David L. Stern and Robyn Dixon report.

U.S. retail sales fell 1.9% in December

“Many holiday shoppers heeded warnings about shipping delays, pushing a large share of the season’s usual gains earlier in the year. Sales were down broadly across spending categories in December, with online sales dropping sharply by 8.7%,” the Wall Street Journal’s Gabriel T. Rubin reports.

Lunchtime reads from The Post

Still looking for a ‘Black mecca,’ the new Great Migration

The percentage of Black Americans who live in the South has been increasing since 1990, and the biggest gains have been in the region’s large urban areas, according to census data. The Black population of metro Atlanta more than doubled between 1990 and 2020, surpassing 2 million in the most recent census, with the city overtaking Chicago as the second-largest concentration of African Americans in the country after metropolitan New York,” Emmanuel Felton, John D. Harden and Kevin Schaul report. “Meanwhile, the Black population shrank in a number of Northern and Western cities.”

“To understand the reasons behind this new Great Migration, The Washington Post interviewed Black Americans across three Southern states — Georgia, North Carolina and Texas — who had moved to the South in recent decades. Like many of those who moved during the original Great Migration, the primary driver of their decisions to leave home was economic.

… and beyond

He was given six months to live. Then he changed D.C.

“As he waited inside Room 2358c of the Rayburn House Office Building, the realization set in for Brian Wallach that he had five minutes to shape the rest of his life. Not save it. He had been given his death sentence nearly two years ago when, at the age of 37, on the day his newborn daughter came home from the hospital, his doctor told him he had the progressive neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS,” Politico’s Sam Stein reports.

“No, this was a chance to accomplish what he’d set out to do after that diagnosis, to make something of this final chapter, something that would materially impact others with this horrible, fatal illness and just maybe — after all, one must hope — allow him a chance to survive it too.”

The rise of omicron

How often can you safely reuse your KN95 or N95 mask?

“Health experts say while there are no hard and fast rules, there are best practices for safely getting multiple uses out of N95s or KN95s.” Paulina Firozi and Allyson Chiu break them down.

The Biden agenda

Biden plans executive action on police reform to revive stalled issue

The focus on police reforms is part of what appears to be a last-ditch effort by the Biden administration to take action on some of Biden’s signature initiatives in the run-up to his State of the Union Address on March 1. In addition to voting rights and policing, the White House and congressional Democrats are considering ways to resurrect Biden’s Build Back Better package, either by paring the legislation or separating it into two bills, three sources familiar with the discussions said,” NBC’s Carol E. Lee, Mike Memoli, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Peter Alexander report.

Insurers say Saturday is too soon to meet White House goals on rapid tests

Some insurers say it will probably take weeks to fully set up the system the White House envisions. The new process will be hard, the insurers say, because over-the-counter coronavirus tests are different from the doctor’s visits and hospital stays they typically cover,” the New York Times’s Sarah Kliff reports.

Biden scrambles on testing amid forecasts that omicron may soon peak in the U.S.

“President Biden announced in a speech Thursday that a federal website where Americans could request free rapid tests would be up and running next week. He also said the administration is purchasing 500 million additional tests to distribute free, on top of the 500 million ordered for January. Higher-quality masks will also soon be distributed free,” Yasmeen Abutaleb reports.

How Biden swung for filibuster reform — and missed with Manchin and Sinema

“Thursday was a painful day for Senate rules reformers. The commander-in-chief coming to the Senate for a final push on rules changes couldn’t shake the resistance of [Sen. Joe] Manchin and his fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday evening that the chamber would postpone a previously scheduled recess and return Tuesday to begin debating the election and voting legislation. He also reiterated his pledge that the Senate will vote on rules changes if Republicans block moving to final passage, as they’re expected to do,” Politico’s Burgess Everett, Marianna Levine and Laura Barrón-López report.

“Despite Biden’s visit and next week’s floor showdown, Manchin and Sinema are only digging in.”

Kazakhstan and Russia, visualized

Here’s what you need to know about Kazakhstan’s unrest and Russian intervention; all your questions answered by our colleague Isabelle Khurshudyan.

Hot on the left

Hey, Virginia lawmakers, the Lincoln-Douglas debates did not involve Frederick Douglass

“Of all the paragraphs in a bill to ban ‘divisive concepts’ from being taught in Virginia public schools, Section B3 may have seemed the most innocuous. After all, it was in the part of the proposal that defined what could actually be taught in history classes, not the myriad things that would be banned or the consequences teachers could face for teaching them, including prosecution and being fired,” Gillian Brockell reports.

“Section B3 of the bill, which was sponsored by Republican freshman Del. Wren Williams, defined what could be taught as ‘the founding documents,’ like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, excerpts from the Federalist Papers, the writings of the Founding Fathers and Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic ‘Democracy in America.’ Oh, and one more thing: ‘the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.’

“By Friday morning, Frederick Douglass was trending on Twitter, and the bill had been withdrawn. But let’s not waste the opportunity for a history lesson.

Hot on the right

Top Trump nemesis might join GOP Senate primary

“Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared in January 2021 that he was ‘100 percent’ focused on his current job and uninterested in a bid for Senate. But speculation among state political insiders that Ducey is plotting a late entry into the Senate race has escalated in recent weeks — a development that would scramble a contest that is pivotal to the battle for the Senate majority,” Politico's Natalie Allison reports.

Former President Donald Trump looms as a powerful force in the race. Trump, who has a rally scheduled Saturday in Phoenix, has made Ducey a frequent target of abuse, criticizing him over the past year for his refusal to embrace election fraud conspiracies. In June, the former president said the Ducey ‘could not get the nomination’ for Senate, if he ran.”

Today in Washington

At 12:30 p.m., Biden will deliver remarks on infrastructure.

The president will depart the White House for Wilmington, Del., at 6 p.m.

In closing

What’s ‘Wordle’ and why is it everywhere?

“'Wordle’ is just a word deduction game, but its simple nature belies the fact that it has — in the span of just a few weeks — become a phenomenon. Maybe you’re here because you were enticed by the strange green and yellow squares on social media. Maybe you noticed a dramatic uptick in how much you were hearing the non-word ‘Wordle.’” Whatever the reason, Mikhail Klimentov is here to answer all your questions about the newest word game craze.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.